Kellogg’s was happy to announce that cereal is the top breakfast choice of American moms, at 73%. Eggs came in at 47%, followed by bread or toast (43%), waffles (43%) and fruit (41%).
Of these, the only one that will fuel you well through your morning is eggs. The others are all starchy carbs that will send your blood sugar skyrocketing (or your child’s) and then drop it precipitously, leaving you tired, hungry and unfocused by mid-morning. Cereal, bread and waffles are all refined processed carbohydrates that are essentially metabolized as sugar by our bodies.
Fruit qualifies as a “real food”, with natural nutrients and fiber, but it is still pure carbohydrates, and carbs alone do not make a good breakfast. Do you have a glass of juice in the morning? That will only make it worse: sugars without the fiber.
The milk in your cereal? It will raise your blood sugar even faster than orange juice! The endocrinologist I trained with used to prefer it for her diabetic patients. The less fat in it, the more it effects your blood sugar. That’s why I love coconut milk, with its higher and healthier fat content. But adding coconut milk to cereal still won’t make it a healthy breakfast.
Don’t be surprised if after a breakfast like that you are craving more starchy carbs, making donuts, sugary coffee and soda, and other unhealthy snacks seem irresistible.
Protein alone (eggs) won’t do it, either, although at least eggs have some fat to slow down the metabolism of the protein.
So how do you put together a good breakfast? The same way you put together any meal or snack. By combining a little protein, a little real carbohydrate, and a little healthy fat. You need all three to keep your focus steady, your metabolism humming, and your blood sugar stable through the morning.
Here are some examples of how to do it:
- Combine the eggs with a piece of high fiber gluten free toast and a cup of berries. Use coconut, pastured butter or ghee, or grapeseed oil to cook the eggs.
- For an even healthier combination, use all “real foods”. Instead of toast, try grating some sweet potato into the pan before adding the eggs. It only takes a couple of minutes to cook if it’s grated.
- Or pour in some frozen peas for your carbs, instead of the sweet potato. But don’t leave out the berries on the side: they’re full of phytonutrients, and the fiber will help you stay full for longer without adding much to your carb count.
- Try my grain-free porridge recipe. It’s made of superfoods dense with rich nutritious protein, healthy fats and lots of fiber. It’s extremely alkalinizing, and it’s vegetarian, Paleo, and vegan, for those who care. I have made it both hot and cold, and with plain water and with coconut milk. It’s very adaptable, and so filling and delicious. I’ve been making big batches and storing them in jars, so I only need to scoop some out, pour in the liquid, add some berries, and enjoy.
- Protein shakes are a great choice for anyone who doesn’t have the time to spend sitting down and eating breakfast in the morning. My kids enjoyed them for years while they were getting ready for school each morning, and I use them regularly in my practice to help clients get their metabolism on track. For a basic shake, combine:
- protein powder, between 3 and 5 ounces depending on your size and weight. I offer many, for example, from non-denatured whey, or various hemp/rice/pea combinations. These are just examples; if you would like help finding the right one for you, just let me know.
- 1 cup berries, fresh or frozen
- 1/4 cup other fruit (skip this if you have blood sugar issues)
- 4-8 ounces unsweetened coconut milk. Almond would be a second choice, but it doesn’t have the nutritional benefits of coconut’s healthy fat, which also adds staying power to the shake.
- Other ingredients can include fiber (I prefer one that is primarily from fruits and vegetables), chia seeds, nuts or nut butter, coconut and/or MCT oil.
- You can also add pomegranate powder or acai. They are tasty and have many health benefits.
Or you can simply think outside the box. No reason you can’t have foods that aren’t traditional breakfast foods for breakfast. The important issue is to find something that will help you feel and function your best as you start your day, and a breakfast that contains protein, fat and carbs will help you do just that.